Congress

7:03am

Thu June 26, 2014
Politics

Schumer pushing legislation to increase political donation transparency

Sen. Charles Schumer. (File photo)
Ellen Abbott WRVO

With election season here, escaping the volley of political ads that are the hallmark of political campaigns will only get harder. In response, New York Democrat Charles Schumer is helping lead a fight in the Senate to force outside groups funding those ads to disclose their donors.

The Citizens United Supreme Court decision dismantled the campaign finance reform known as the McCain-Feingold Act. Wealthy donors, unions and corporations can now dump millions of dollars into political campaigns, seemingly in secret.

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3:20pm

Mon February 10, 2014
Sports

Congressional pressure builds on Redskins to change name

Keith Allison via Flickr

An effort led by the Oneida Indian Nation to have Washington D.C.'s professional football team change its name has gained more support from members of Congress.

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., sent a letter Monday to NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell urging the league to take a stand for the Washington Redskins to change its team name.

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3:34pm

Wed February 5, 2014
Politics and Government

With robocalls rising, Schumer pushes for tougher enforcement

Despite the national "do not call" list, the number of telemarketer violations has tripled in New York state.

Sen. Charles Schumer says that likely has to do with companies using computer-generated robocalls to target households.

Schumer has introduced a new bill, called the QUIET Act, that he says will strengthen penalties against companies that violate the rules. He says new technology is allowing robocallers to skirt the current laws.

"The robocall industry is blatantly ignoring federal laws, so we have to fight fire with fire," Schumer said.

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5:20pm

Wed January 29, 2014
Politics and Government

Maffei, Hanna positive about State of the Union

Central New York congressmen are generally reacting positively to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. Fellow democrat and Syracuse-area representative Dan Maffei said he agrees with the president that Washington should focus on creating new jobs and expanding economic opportunities.

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5:33am

Wed January 29, 2014
Agriculture

Schumer says Farm Bill deal good for New York farmers

Ian Lamont Flickr

New York Sen. Charles Schumer says it’s “a good day” for upstate New York farmers now that there is a deal in the House of Representatives and Senate for a Farm Bill.

Congress is expected to begin voting on the bill later today. The five year farm bill, agreed upon in committees on Monday, reduces crop subsidies and increases crop insurance.

Farm Bills were first written during the Great Depression. This latest one took two years of negotiation.

Schumer, a Democrat, says the bill is especially good for small dairy farmers and maple sugar tappers in New York.

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4:39pm

Thu December 5, 2013
Regional Coverage

Maffei introducing new legislation to strengthen probation system

File photo
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Syracuse-area Congressman Dan Maffei is introducing legislation to crack down on people tampering with electronic probation devices and to hold federal probation offices more accountable.

Maffei is introducing the Federal Probation System Reform Act, which he says will make it a federal crime to tamper with an electronic monitoring device, and establish a nationwide standard for responding to bracelet alerts.

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9:34pm

Tue October 1, 2013
Politics and Government

"Disgusted" over shutdown, Maffei says he's working with both sides

Rep. Dan Maffei, D-Syracuse, says he's dissapointed and shares in the fustration over the federal shutdown.
Ryan Delaney WRVO file photo

Rep. Dan Maffei told constituents Tuesday evening he shares in their frustration over the federal government's shutdown, saying there will be serious consequences if it drags on.

The Democrat from Syracuse even agreed with one caller's claim that Congress' inability to act was "disgusting."

Maffei voted with House Republicans late Monday night for a spending plan that would have, if the Senate had approved it, delayed the individual mandate portion of Obamacare for a year. While trying to strike a bipartisan note, Maffei laid more blame on the G.O.P. than his own party.

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11:49am

Fri September 27, 2013
Politics and Government

Thomas Mann on The Campbell Conversations

Thomas Mann
Brookings Institution

What's the problem with Congress?  Why can't it find compromises on the most basic issues?  In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher explores those questions with Thomas Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the co-author of "It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional Syst

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4:31pm

Thu September 19, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo says Washington gridlock won't affect Obamacare in NY

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said threats in Congress to defund Obamacare won’t have any effect on the federal Affordable Health Care Act going forward in New York.

Cuomo said even if Congress is gridlocked over funding for the federal health care act, New York will still be going ahead on Oct. 1 with the required health care exchanges.

 “The health exchange is up and running,” Cuomo said on a trip to Niagara Falls. “I don’t believe there’s going to be any effect on the state.”

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4:18pm

Thu September 12, 2013
Politics and Government

Hanna, Owens support delaying vote on Syria

The ongoing civil war in Syria is dominating the discussion in Washington this week.  Rep. Richard Hanna, who represents an area from Utica to Binghamton, was one of many congressmen who received a classified briefing on Syria.

He said the U.S. should be looking at the Russian proposal for Syria to give up its chemical weapons, fairly, but also with some skepticism. Hanna, a Republican, said going to war again is not the best option.

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6:44am

Thu September 5, 2013
Politics and Government

Maffei, Owens talk about upcoming Syria vote

Ellen Abbott WRVO file photo

While Congress prepares to vote on whether or not to take military action against Syria, two local members of Congress are still considering all the facts. Syracuse-area Democrat Dan Maffei says he is looking at the big picture, but says he still has questions that need to be answered, including how it will impact American service members.

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6:41am

Thu August 15, 2013
Obama visit to Syracuse

Maffei discusses upcoming presidential visit

file photo
Ryan Delaney WRVO file photo

President Obama will be in Buffalo, Syracuse and Binghamton next week to discuss his plan for reducing college costs, but Rep. Dan Maffei hopes the president makes a stop in Auburn, too.

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8:24am

Mon August 12, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Maffei holds workshops to assist first reponders in getting grants

Gino Geruntino/WRVO

Local fire departments and non-affiliated EMS organizations are learning how to apply and qualify for federal grants at a series of grant writing workshops held by Rep. Dan Maffei. Those funds can be used to pay for needed equipment, recruiting or vehicles.

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5:14pm

Mon August 5, 2013
Regional Coverage

Activists walk Auburn to promote Tubman national park

Harriet Tubman home in Auburn
Heather L via Flickr

More than 100 people walked an Auburn street this weekend to help unveil a highway sign commemorating the work of abolitionist Harriet Tubman. The walk is part of an effort to put Tubman’s home one step closer to becoming a national park.

Harriet Tubman’s great-grandniece Geraldine Copes-Daniels of Auburn believe her ancestor is long overdue for national recognition.

“Tonight we’re trying to do what she did, but hers was a longer way…People of today don’t realize what she’s done,” said Copes-Daniels.

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1:45pm

Tue July 30, 2013
Higher Ed

Gillibrand explains her 'no' vote on student loan compromise

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., talks with Syracuse Common Council President Van Robinson Monday.
Ryan Delaney WRVO file photo

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says she voted against a recent compromise on student loans because the interest rates shouldn’t be tied to market rates.

Congress let interest rates on government subsidized student loans double on July first to nearly seven percent. Last week lawmakers worked out a deal to allow rates to be tied to 10 year Treasury notes. That temporarily lowered the rates again.

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8:25am

Tue July 23, 2013
Higher Ed

Schumer happy with student loan interest rate compromise

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
Credit Ryan Delaney / WRVO

New York's senior U.S. senator says the compromise on student loans Congress is scheduled to take up on Tuesday is a good one, even if it's not exactly what he wanted.

Interest rates on government issued subsidized student loans doubled on July 1, after Congress failed to renew the program. But late last week, several lawmakers announced a compromise that will bring rates back down, at least for now.

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7:59am

Fri July 19, 2013
Politics and Government

Hanna introduces bill offering tax breaks for emergency responders

Richard Hanna discusses his recently introduced legislation.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO file photo

When Mahlon Irish became a Homer volunteer firefighter in 1974, it was common for 60 people to head out to a fire. Now, it can be difficult to get the 12 firefighters national standards call for to a working blaze. The decline in the number of volunteers through the years is blamed on many things -- from extensive training required to changing family dynamics. But the expense of being a volunteer is also an issue, says Irish, using the cost of gasoline as an example.

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6:12am

Tue February 19, 2013
Regional Coverage

Area advocates worry about sequestration effect on regional non-profits

Advocates sent letters on Valentine's Day to lawmakers asking them to consider progressive budget principles in the sequestration debate.
Courtesy Greater Syracuse Tenants Network

The automatic federal budget cuts that are slated to go into effect in March would have a big impact on programs that help the poor and elderly in Syracuse.  Advocates for these programs are urging Congress to do something to prevent the across-the-board spending cuts knows as sequestration.

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4:42pm

Fri February 1, 2013
Politics and Government

Maffei answers questions on immigration, gun control

At a news conference in Auburn, central New York Cong. Dan Maffei commented on a couple of hot-button issues facing Congress currently.

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3:39pm

Fri January 11, 2013
Politics and Government

Hanna talks gun control, small business and term limits

Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barnevald, at a Remmington Arms factory in Ilion, N.Y.
Richard Hanna for Congress

Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, is taking a bit of a wait-and-see approach to new gun control legislation, but he has gotten the opinion of at least one high school class in his district.

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3:27pm

Mon January 7, 2013
Business

Fiscal Cliff deal is good news for small business

While the Fiscal Cliff deal passed by Congress at the turn of the New Year raised taxes on some of the wealthiest people in America, it left many tax breaks in place that benefit small businesses. That is, along as they take advantage of them.

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10:55am

Mon January 7, 2013
Politics

Ann Marie Buerkle on the Campbell Conversations

Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle recently ended her term the way she first ran for the office—standing up for conservative principles. She voted against the fiscal cliff compromise, on the grounds that it did not address the deficit and government over-spending.  But she was defeated last November by Dan Maffei, the man she unseated in 2010.

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7:41am

Mon January 7, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Wind energy tax credit extension means "big sigh of relief"

Sarah Harris NCPR

With several tax credits and incentives for the wind industry extended by Congress for at least another year, wind projects in upstate New York can move forward with a little more confidence.

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2:35pm

Mon December 31, 2012
Politics

Deal reached to stop the $6 gallon of milk

A deal is on the table to stop milk prices from rising to $6 a gallon.
Credit wander.lust / via Flickr

Congress seems to have reached a deal to stop milk prices from rising to a warned about $6 a gallon in the New Year, but it's unclear if it will be voted on before the end of 2012.

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5:45am

Mon December 31, 2012
Politics and Government

"Redshirt sophomore" Maffei ready to return to Congress

Third Way Flickr

Members of the 113th Congress will be sworn in January 3 -- and part of the new Congress will be a familiar face returning to Washington to represent the Syracuse area in a redistricted seat.

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7:57am

Tue December 18, 2012
Politics

Maffei ready to deal with fiscal cliff if need be

Maffei (right), seen here earlier this year with former President Bill Clinton, says he's ready to handle the fiscal cliff.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

He won't be sworn in until January, but congressman-elect Dan Maffei is carefully watching the fiscal cliff negotiations in Washington.

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9:25am

Thu December 6, 2012
Politics and Government

Immigration legislation could help those with STEM degrees

New legislation would allow 55,000 thousand green cards to be earmarked for foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math has made it through the House of Representatives. But the bill still has an uphill battle ahead.

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9:46am

Tue November 27, 2012
Regional Coverage

Cuomo says Sandy costs reach $41 billion

Governor Andrew Cuomo says Hurricane Sandy caused more damage than Hurricane Katrina, and is now asking for $41 billion from the federal government. Cuomo says New York’s congressional delegation has promised the help.

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5:24am

Tue November 13, 2012
Politics and Government

Schumer: compromise is key to avoiding fiscal cliff

The focus in Washington, D.C. is now on the so-called "fiscal cliff," which describes the automatic budget cuts and tax hikes that are scheduled to go into effect at the end of the year if Congress and the president don't come to an agreement to reduce the deficit.  Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) is among those saying that the election was a mandate for compromise.

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4:55pm

Wed September 19, 2012
Politics and Government

Buerkle hopes for a farm bill extension

Central New York Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle is concerned that the House of Representatives has not yet passed a farm bill. The current one is scheduled to expire September 30, but Congress is scheduled to finish its work this week and passage of a farm bill does not look likely.

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